EXCLUSIVE: Wirral Borough Council v Kane & Woodley (a case about Fernbank Farm) Part 2
Deputy District Judge Grosscurth said he would include with the witness statements standard disclosure. Wirral Council asked if standard disclosure meant by list with a copy attached? Deputy District Judge Grosscurth asked them to take care with hidden documents.
Cllr Ian Lewis made a point about the missing correspondence. Deputy District Judge Grosscurth said it should still be in the list. Wirral Council said that they should all have a copy.
Deputy District Judge Grosscurth said he wanted to set down how long the final hearing would be, with four witness statements, he suggested three hours. Wirral Council agreed with three hours.
Deputy District Judge Grosscurth started dictating the text of his order, then changed his mind and decided to do it the other way round instead. He said that unless the defendants filed and served a defence, then their existing defence would be struck out and judgement entered for the Claimant (Wirral Council).
Wirral Council sad that they should be entitled to rely on the existing defence. Deputy District Judge Grosscurth said there would be no amended defence unless the defendants filed and served on the Claimant an amended defence by 4pm in twenty-one days? Cllr Ian Lewis agreed with “Yes, Sir.”
Deputy District Judge Grosscurth said if the amended defence was not filed and served by the 12th December then the case would proceed on the basis of the defence already filed and served. For point two in the court order he wanted to move to standard disclosure. He wanted standard disclosure by list with documents attached that were referred to therein filed and served by 4pm on the 12th December.
For point three of his court order he wanted mutual exchange of witness statements by 4pm on a specific date, he pointed out at this point it would have to be well after the 12th December and he’d have to take into account the Christmas period and he suggested the 9th January 2014?
Wirral Council urged the Court to to tighten the timescales a little as the Claimant (Wirral Council) felt it was a relatively straight forward matter that wouldn’t wouldn’t take a great deal of time and could be relatively quick. Wirral Council said regarding the importance of the case it should be dealt with procedurally could the timescales be tightened up?
Deputy District Judge Grosscurth asked Wirral Council what they proposed? Wirral Council answered that they would like the timescales brought forward by a week, with a hearing soon after in the New Year. Cllr Ian Lewis said that to be practical, they wished to stick to the timescale for the first two dates.
Deputy District Judge Grosscurth repeated the timescales of 12th December 2013 and 9th January 2014 with an early listing thereafter. He asked then about the bundle?
Wirral Council said as it was their claim that they would produce a paginated and indexed bundle.
Deputy District Judge Grosscurth repeated and stated that the Claimant would prepare a paginated and indexed bundle in anticipation of the trial of this matter to be filed at court at least seven days before the trial date. He explained to the litigants-in-person that it was a principle that he didn’t want the judge hearing the case to be taken by surprise. A copy bundle would be sent to the defendants and everybody would be served a bundle with numbered pages, served and filed at the court at least seven days before the trial date.
Wirral Council asked about the allocation? Deputy District Judge Grosscurth asked if it was a part 8 claim that had been issued? Wirral Council said they were happy with it being dealt with as a part 8 claim. Deputy District Judge Grosscurth said that would mean it was given an immediate hearing date. He asked what they were looking for?
Wirral Council said in their opinion it was a fast track matter and said they don’t want to proceed with an allocation questionnaire as it would delay with the matter so that could be dispensed with as well.
Cllr Ian Lewis said he had no idea what an allocation questionnaire was. District Judge Grosscurth explained that the options were small claims, multi track or fast track but this was “definitely fast track” as it was not a small claim matter so it would be allocated to the fast track. He said they would be dispensing with the directions questionnaire.
Wirral Council said they would be amalgamated. District Judge Grosscurth said it had been changed in April. Now there was a directions questionnaire and a listing questionnaire and that it would be listed for a final hearing at the next available date after the week to deal with the statements, which was the 16th January 2014. He asked what the estimated length of the final hearing would be?
Wirral Council answered three hours. District Judge Grosscurth said he would change that, as whoever was hearing it on the day needed knowledge of the case. He suggested half an hour of reading time and a two and a half hours for the hearing to split it up.
District Judge Grosscurth asked if there was anything else? Wirral Council said that they “don’t think so” but asked about costs? District Judge Grosscurth said that costs would be sorted out at the end of the day and that there are cost implications which the parties needed to be aware of. He suggested the defendants seek advice from a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau. He made part six of his order about costs in the case and said that the parties knew what they had got to do. Cllr Ian Lewis thanked him, Wirral Council thanked him.
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